Famous People from India: Famous India Artists, Leaders, Musicians, Politicians, etc.
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India is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and religions with outstanding individuals who made a difference with their remarkable achievements. The following people made their mark on both the local and international scenes. They are just some of many famous Indians who have lifted India’s name worldwide and made a difference in our world. Their purpose and stories inspired awe if not greatness.
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:: List of Famous People from India ::
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta:
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”
She was born as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Üsküb, Ottoman Empire (today’s Skopje, Republic of Macedonia), in 1910 and died in Calcutta, India, in 1997. Beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title of “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta” after her death, she was a very famous Albanian Catholic nun and missionary of Indian citizenship who was best known for her charity work and her humanitarian missions after having founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, in 1950, and who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Mother Teresa is an international symbol of the defense of the poor and the helpless. The Missionaries of Charity became her way of helping the sick, the poor, the helpless, the homeless, the orphaned, the alcoholic and the dying in India and, then, in more than one hundred countries around the world. Her humanitarian work made her famous around the world and granted her many different honors and awards; apart from the Nobel Peace Prize, she was also honored with the Pope John XXIII Prize in 1971; the Nehru Prize for her promotion of international peace and understanding in 1972; the Balzan Prize in 1979; the Bharat Ratna in 1980, which is the highest civilian honor in India; and the Templeton and Magsaysay awards, among othres. The missions of the Missionaries of Charity have included hospices and homes for people with leprosy, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis; orphanages; soup kitchens; schools; and children’s and family counseling programs. She spent more than 45 years of her life –until her death- working in different missions to help the poor, the sick and the helpless. She is globally known for having sent many peace and love messages to humanity. She was a close friend of Diana, Princess of Wales. Her life has inspired several books, documentaries and movies such as the documentary film (1969) and book (1971) “Something beautiful for God” by Malcolm Muggeridge; the film “Mother Teresa: In the name of God’ poor”, directed by Kevin Connor, in 1997; and the Italian television miniseries “Madre Teresa” (2003), which, later, became an international television film called “Mother Teresa of Calcutta”
“I believe in the fundamental Truth of all the great religions of the world. I believe that they are all God given. I came to the conclusion long ago… that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them.”
He was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Porbandar, Bombay Presidency, British India, in 1869 and died in New Delhi, Union of India, in 1948. Internationally known as Mahatma (which means “great soul”) Gandhi, he was a very famous Indian thinker, politician, writer, lawyer and spiritual leader who gained his international fame during the Indian independence movement, through his ideas and philosophies of total non-violence and of resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience. He had several ways of speaking to the world and to his society through social protests and methods of non-violent resistance like hunger strikes and other kinds of strikes; he spent different periods of his life in jail in South Africa and India as a result of his non-violent fight for India’s independence. His ideas and actions soon led him to be regarded as a national hero in India, where he was also known as Bapu, which, literally, means “father”. Leo Tolstoy, with whom he maintained correspondence until the famous Russian writer’s death, had a great influence on his ideas about non-violent resistance. Another thinker that had great influence on Gandhi’s ideas was the North American writer Henry David Thoreau. Gandhi became a very relevant figure of pacifist anarchism. He had a great moral influence on the conversations that led and prepared India for its independence. His principles were truth, non-violence, vegetarianism, Brahmacharya (spiritual and practical purity), simplicity, faith and Swaraj (self governance through individuals and community building). He was an example of what he preached; he had a very simple lifestyle: he was a vegetarian, lived in a self-sufficient residential community and wore traditional Indian clothes that he himself used to make. He was against killing animals to satisfy the human desires and his phrase about how a society treats its animals became world famous: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. He was killed by a radical Hindu called Nathuram Godse, who was apparently related to far right groups, in Birla Bhavan (Birla House) in 1948. He received many different honors and awards among which are the title of “Father of the Nation” in India and the commemoration of his birthday (October 2nd) as the Gandhi Jayanti, a holiday, in his country and the “International day of non-violence” in the rest of the world. He was nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize in five occasions between 1937 and 1948, but he never received the award. The International Gandhi Peace Prize, which was created in his honor and launched in 1995, is given by the government of India every year to persons or institutions that contribute to the political, social or economic transformation through non-violent and other methods that are influenced by Gandhi’s ideas and actions. Nelson Mandela is one of the persons that have won the International Gandhi Peace Prize.
“Even if I died in the service of the nation, I would be proud of it. Every drop of my blood… will contribute to the growth of this nation and to make it strong and dynamic.”
“My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.”
She was born as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru in Allahabad, India, in 1917 and died in New Delhi, India, in 1984. Best known as Indira Gandhi (she took her last name from her husband Feroze Gandhi, who was not related to Mahatma Gandhi), she was a very famous and brilliant Indian politician and political thinker and strategist who became the first –and to the date the only- female Prime Minister of the Republic of India. She occupied the position of the head of her country for three consecutive terms (from 1966 to 1977) and then for a fourth term (from 1980 until her assassination in 1984); with a total of fifteen years as the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Indira Gandhi still holds the record of the world’s all time longest serving female prime minister. She was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the most representative prime ministers in the history of the Republic of India. She is still regarded as one of the most powerful women in the history of the world. She led India to industrialization and she supported the independence of Eastern Pakistan, which is currently Bangladesh. Before becoming India’s Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi occupied several important government positions such as the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. Indira Gandhi is remembered as one of the most representative members of the family that has governed the Republic of India throughout very long and important periods of its history and during most of the history of Independent India, the Nehru family. She’s also regarded as a symbol of feminism in India, since she became the country’s first female Prime Minister and a very influential leader in a mainly male dominated society. She was killed by two of her bodyguards in October, 1984. The Indira Gandhi International Airport of New Delhi is named in her honor.
“The lifestyle of many of our colleagues has been very pompous. They conduct weddings and birthdays in such an ostentatious manner that it pains me a lot. It appears that they are making fun of our commitment to the poor.”
“The future of each of us is inter-connected and all of us should work together by following the path laid down by former leaders of the party for the development of the country and its brighter future.”
Originally born as Edvige Antonia Albina Maino in Lusiana, Italy, in 1946, Sonia Gandhi is a very important Italian Indian leader and politician, who is currently the President of the Indian National Congress Party, the Chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance in the Lok Sabha and the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party. She’s the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi’s son and former Prime Minister of the Republic of India. She lived in Italy but she met Rajiv Gandhi while studying in Cambridge, United Kingdom, fell in love with him and ended up marrying him and living in India, where her political future was waiting for her. She learned almost everything she knows about India and about politics from Indira Gandhi’s and Rajiv Gandhi’s work and ideas. Her foreign origins have been very controversial for such an important political figure in the second most populous country in the world, but she has managed to show the Indian society that she knows and loves the country, and that she is currently as Indian as any other citizen that has been born in India. She holds the record of having served as Congress President for 10 years consecutively. Forbes magazine named Sonia Gandhi the third most powerful woman in the world in the year 2004, and then, in 2007, the sixth most powerful woman on the planet. Also, in the years 2007 and 2008, she was listed among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
“She was mother not only to me but to the whole nation. She served the Indian people to the last drop of her blood.” (Rajiv Gandhi speaking about his mother, Indira Gandhi)
“For some days, people thought that India was shaking. But there are always tremors when a great tree falls.”
He was originally born as Rajiv Ratna Gandhi in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India, in 1944 and died in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, India, in 1991. He was the son of Indira Gandhi and a very important Indian political leader and pilot who became the youngest Prime Minister of the Republic of India at the age of forty years. He governed the country from 1984, when his mother was murdered, until 1989, when he resigned after a general election defeat. He married Sonia Maino, an Italian woman he met in Cambridge who then, after his death, became the President of the Indian National Congress Party, continuing the political legacy of the Gandhi family until these days. Rajiv Gandhi worked as a pilot and didn’t like politics but was forced, after his mother’s assassination, to take charge of the country in order to not disappoint his family or disrespect his mother’s memory. Just before becoming India’s Prime Minister, he had been the Minister of External Affairs of the country. After becoming India’s Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi made some changes in the country’s government and politics: he improved the relations with the United States of America, modernized the telecommunications industry as well as the education system, expanded science and technology initiatives, and eliminated some regulations on the economic activity. The same as his mother’s, his life ended tragically with his assassination in 1991. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, which is the highest national award of India.
“If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.”
“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe.”
Born in New Delhi, India, in 1946, Deepak Chopra is an internationally renowned Indian American prolific writer, public speaker and physician who has extensively written about spirituality, the healing power of the mind and Ayurveda. He is the founder and director of The Chopra Center for Well Being and of the Mind-Body Medical Institute in La Jolla, California, where he currently lives. This Hindu writer, who is a follower of Jiddu Krishnamurti, has been strongly influenced by the ideas of traditional Indian medical writings as well as by quantum physics. He has written more than 56 books that have been translated into more than 35 languages and, counting only the English versions, he has sold more than ten million copies of his books (he has sold more than twenty million copies of all versions of his books worldwide). He is a member of the American Medical Association (AMA), a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. He was a close friend of Michael Jackson for more than twenty years and he publicly said Jackson’s death was an example of the co-dependent relationships between drug-pushing doctors and addicted celebrities. In 1994, Forbes magazine described him as “the latest in a line of gurus who have prospered by blending pop science, pop psychology, and pop Hinduism”. In 1999, Time Magazine chose him as one of the top hundred icons and heroes of the 20th Century and described him as “the poet prophet of alternative medicine”. Some of his most famous books are “The seven spiritual laws of success: a practical guide to the fulfillment of your dreams”, published in 1994; “Peace is the way”; and “The book of secrets: unlocking the hidden dimensions of your life”, among others. He also has music CDs, audio books and videos. He has received different honors and awards such as the International top five outstanding speakers award by Toastmasters in 1995; the Golden Gavel Award by Toastmasters in 1997; the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic by the Pio Manzu International Scientific Committee; the Einstein Humanitarian Award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in collaboration with the American Journal of Psychotherapy in 2002; the Ellis Island Medal of Honor by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations in 2006; the Oceana Award in 2009; the Cinequest Life of a Maverick Award for his collaborations with filmmakers Shekhar Kapur and his son, Gotham Chopra, in 2010; the GOI Peace Award in 2010; and the Humanitarian Starlite Award “for his global force of human empowerment, wellbeing and for bringing light to the world” in 2010.
He became a Senior Scientist at the Gallup Organization in 2005.
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
Although the time of his birth and death are uncertain, according to some historians, Siddhārtha Gautama lived between 563 BCE and 483 BCE (some others say his death might have occurred between 411 and 400 BCE), when the Vedic period was ending. Best known as Buddha, he was a spiritual leader and teacher from ancient India who founded one of the largest religions in the history of the world: the Buddhism. He is widely considered as one of the most important figures of human religious history together with Jesus Christ, Mahoma and others. He has been a sacred religious figure for two of the religions with the most followers in the world: Buddhism (he was the founder of the Buddhist Dharma and he is regarded as the first “enlightened one”) and Hinduism (he is considered the incarnation or the avatar of the god Vishnu). For Buddhists, Buddha means “the awaked one” or “the enlightened one”. Although he is the main figure of Buddhism, he is not an exclusive figure of this religious, but also of many others such as the Bahá’í faith, in which he is regarded as a prophet. According to the legend, Buddha was a wealthy prince that had access to the best education of the time, but then he started a journey in which he knew pain, illness and death; after living an ascetic life for a while, he learned that there were no good extremes and that balance was the ideal. Buddha himself made clear that he was not God and that only human beings could reach that state of illumination. During his life experience he comprehended the Four Noble Truths that are currently an important principle of Buddhism:
- The nature of suffering (or Dukkha)
- Suffering’s origin (or Dukkha Samudaya)
- Suffering’s cessation (or Dukkha Nirodha)
- The path (Dukkha Nirodha Gamini Patipada Magga) leading to the cessation of suffering
“Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom.”
He was born in Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh, India, in 1895 and died in Ojai, California, United States, in 1986. Jiddu Krishnamurti was a very famous Indian author, philosopher and public speaker on spiritual and philosophical matters. He traveled around the world giving lectures and teaching about the nature of human mind, the purpose of meditation, the psychological revolution, the human relations and how to implement positive changes in the global society. When he was very young he was discovered by some people who wanted him to become a spiritual leader, which he rejected to then start traveling as an individual speaker. Many of his speeches have been translated into many languages and published as books of philosophy. Some of his books are “The first and last freedom”, “The only revolution” and “Krishnamurti’s notebook”. He received the United Nations Peace Medal in 1984. There are several published biographies of Jiddu Krishnamurti such as “Krishnamurti: The years of awakening”, “The years of fulfillment”, “The open door” and “Krishnamurti and the Rajagopals”, by Mary Lutyens, who spent a lot of time with him during his life; and some others such as “Krishnamurti, a biography”, by Pupul Jayakar; and “Star in the east: Krishnamurti, the invention of a Messiah”, by Roland Vernon.
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama:
“Afflictive emotions – our jealousy, anger, hatred, fear – can be put to an end. When you realize that these emotions are only temporary, that they always pass on like clouds in the sky, you also realize they can ultimately be abandoned.”
Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso was born in Taktser, Qinghai, Tibet, in 1935. His name is usually shortened as Tenzin Gyatso. He is the 14th Dalai Lama, a political ruler and spiritual leader of the people of Tibet, who is believed to be the reincarnation of his predecessors and who established the government of the Tibet in exile, in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for “the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence” and, also, as a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi. He is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the west. He is a member of the Honor Committee of the International Coalition for the Decade for the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence. In 2007, the Congress of the United States of America honored him with the Congressional Gold Medal, which was seen as an offense by the Chinese government. He has received many different honors and awards (more than one hundred) such as the Christmas Humphreys Award by the Buddhist Society of the United Kingdom in 2005 and the Honorary Citizenship given to him by the Governor General of Canada in 2006. There are also many films and documentaries that have been inspired on the 14th Dalai Lama’s life such as the documentary “Compassion in exile: The life of the 14th Dalai Lama” in 1993; “Kundun” directed by Martin Scorsese in 1997; “Seven years in Tibet” directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud in 1997; the documentary “What remains of us” in 2004; the documentary “10 questions for the Dalai Lama” in 2006; the documentary “Dalai Lama renaissance” narrated by Harrison Ford in 2008; and the documentary “The unwinking gaze: The inside story of the Dalai Lama’s struggle for Tibet” in 2008; among others. The 14th Dalai Lama already announced his semi retirement and these were his words when the press asked him about it: “I have grown old…. It is better if I retire completely and get out of the way of the Tibetan movement”.
Gopal Krishna Gokhale:
Gopal Krishna Gokhale was born in Maharastra, India, in 1866 and died in Bombay, India, in 1915. He was an important Indian political and social leader, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and a founder of the Servants of India Society. He was one of the founders of the Indian Independence Movement against the British Empire in India; he worked for the independence as well as for a social reform, and he did it following two main principles, which were the avoidance of violence and the reforms within the existing government institutions. Founded by Shri R R Kale for the Servants of India Society, the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE), commonly known as Gokhale Institute, is one of the oldest research and training institutes in Economics in India.
“It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty, of insanitation and illiteracy, of superstition and deadening of custom and tradition, of vast resources running to waste, or a rich country inhabited by starving poor… Who indeed could afford to ignore science today? At every turn we have to seek its aid… The future belongs to science and those who make friends with science.”
“I want nothing to do with any religion concerned with keeping the masses satisfied to live in hunger, filth, and ignorance. I want nothing to do with any order, religious or otherwise, which does not teach people that they are capable of becoming happier and more civilized on this earth, capable of becoming master of his fate and captain of his soul.”
Son of the Indian politician Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru was born in Allahabad, United Provinces, British India, in 1889 and died in New Delhi, Delhi, India, in 1964. He was a very important Indian politician and statesman, the leader of the left wing of the Indian National Congress; one of the most important leaders of the Indian Independence Movement after Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose; and the first Prime Minister of Independent India as well as the longest serving prime minister of the country to date (he was the head of the state until his death in 1964). He is also known as Pandit Nehru and, in India, as Panditji. Recognized as Gandhi’s political heir, Jawaharlal Nehru was Indira Gandhi’s father and the start of the Gandhi political dynasty, which has governed the Independent Republic of India for most of the time since his mandate until today. Apart from the relevant role he played in India’s independence and political future, Nehru was also one of the founders of the Non-aligned Movement and played an important role in the international politics and relations of the post war period. Nehru was determinant in the education development in his country; his education policies led to the creation of great education institutions such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Technology. He is frequently regarded and referred to as “the architect of modern India”.
Anthony de Mello:
“These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness and worship without awareness.”
“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.”
Anthony de Mello S.J. was born in Bombay, India, in 1931 and died in New York, United States of America, in 1987. He was a famous Indian Jesuit priest, spiritual guide, psychotherapist, public speaker and author who gained his fame around the world with his books and conferences about spirituality, in which he mixed the Jewish-Christian doctrine with Buddhism. Apart from his books, there are also audio CDs and films of his conferences and ideas. There are only a few of his conferences and talks that could be recorded such as “Awareness”, “A rediscovery of life” and “A way to God for today”. Thousands of people around the globe have read and listened to the words of Anthony de Mello, and many have said they changed their lives. He was sometimes criticized by the Catholic Church, including the Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, because, as they said, his ideas had an important distance from the Catholic faith. Those critics have been attributed to the fact that Anthony de Mello was very influenced by the Thai Buddhist teacher Ajahn Chah, who is believed to have been his mentor. Some of the editions of his books include this phrase as a caution: ‘The books of Father Anthony de Mello were written in a multi-religious context to help the followers of other religions, agnostics and atheists in their spiritual search, and they were not intended by the author as manuals of instruction of the Catholic faithful in Christian doctrine or dogma”. Some of his books are “One minute of wisdom”, “The song of the bird”, “The way to love”, “Heart of the enlightened”, “Awareness: The perils and opportunities of reality” and “Wellsprings: A book of spiritual exercises”, among others.
“Small miseries, like small debts, hit us in so many places, and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they want in weight, they make up in number, and render it less hazardous to stand the fire of one cannon ball, than a volley composed of such a shower of bullets.”
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India, in 1865 and died in London, England, in 1936. He was a very important Indian British poet, novelist, short story teller and author who was one of the most popular writers of prose and verse in English in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907, becoming the first British writer and the first English language author to win the prize. These were the words with which the prize was given to him: “In consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author.” He is also the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature to date. Best known for his works of fiction, Rudyard Kipling’s children’s books are classics of children’s literature and he has been described as “an innovator in the art of the short story”. The British soldiers and the defense of the western imperialism were common subjects in his poems and stories. He was described as “a prophet of British imperialism” by a very young George Orwell. Another author that described him was the American-born Henry James, who said “Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known”. He was offered several honors such as the national poetry prize “Poet Laureateship” in 1895, the Order of Merit and the title of “Sir” of the Order of the British Empire in three occasions, but he rejected them all. Some of his best known works are the short story “The man who would be king”, published in 1888; the short story collection “The jungle book”, published in 1894; the poem “If”, published in 1895; the poems “Gunga Din”, published in 1892; the poem “Mandalay”, published in 1890; the spy novel “Kim”, published in 1901; “The phantom Rickshaw and other eerie tales”; among others. Various novels of Rudyard Kipling have been adapted into films such as “Captains corageous” by Victor Fleming in 1037; “Gunga Din” in 1939; “Kim” by Victor Saville in 1950 and by John Davies in 1984; “The man who would be king” by John Huston in 1975; “The jungle book” several times like “Disney’s Rudyard Kipling’s The jungle book” by Stephen Sommers in 1994; and “My boy Jack” in 2006; among others. Critic Douglas Kerr described him with these words: “He is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognized as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, makes him a force to be reckoned with.”
“The belief is growing on me that the disease is communicated by the bite of the mosquito… She always injects a small quantity of fluid with her bite – what if the parasites get into the system in this manner.”
Sir Ronald Ross was born in Almora, India, in 1857 and died in London, England, in 1932. He was a very important Indian British physician, mathematician, naturalist, zoologist and entomologist who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his great work on malaria, for having related this disease to mosquitoes, discovering that these animals transmitted malaria to other animals like birds and to humans. Apart from being famous as a physician and mathematician, Ross was also an acclaimed poet, playwright, painter and writer. He dedicated a great part of his career to the prevention of malaria in different African countries and around the world; one of his greatest contributions to this matter was the development of mathematical models for the study of this epidemiology. He received many different honors and awards such as his election as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1901; as a Fellow -and then, in 1911, Vice-President- of the Royal Society; as a Companion –and then, in 1911, Knight Commander- of the Most Honorable Order of Bath by King Edward VII; he received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1923; among other titles and prizes. There are also several hospitals, roads and parts of universities named after Sir Ronald Ross.
Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, “Amma”:
“There is one Truth that shines through all of creation. Rivers and mountains, plants and animals, the sun, the moon and the stars, you and I—all are expressions of this one Reality.”
She was originally born as Sudhamani Idamannel in Parayakadadavu in the state of Kerala in India in 1953. Best known as “Amma”, “Ammachi” or “Mother”, she’s an Hindu spiritual leader and teacher who’s internationally recognized, respected and acclaimed for her great humanitarian activities and her huge charity work. Frequently referred to as “Mahatma” (great soul) and as “The Hugging Saint”, she’s regarded as a saint by her followers. She stopped going to school when she was very young to start taking care of her brothers and helping at home, and then continued her journey towards what has been described as the “universal motherhood”. The main objective of her charity work is the development of each individual in all his/her dimensions; she has helped with schools, hospitals, homes, medical camps, orphanages, pensions for poor women and higher education institutions, among other things. In India, she is admired and consulted by everyone from scientists and ministers to movie stars. Her great humanitarian works and her role as the “mother” of all those who need her have granted her many honors such as an invitation to the United Nation’s Millennium World Peace Summit in New York, United States of America, in the year 2000. She was chosen as one of the three representatives of Hinduism in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1993; she’s been invited to give speeches in many different international events including some events and anniversaries of the United Nations; she received the Gandhi King Award for Non-Violence in 2002; she received an award in the Cinéma Vérité in Paris, France, in 2007; among other recognitions for her humanitarian work. Her house has been transformed into an Ashram and is home to a group of young disciples who started living according to the rules of Sannyasa, which are traditional rules of the lifestyle of monks in India. She’s the founder and chairperson of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math; the founder of Embracing World; the Chancellor of the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University; the founder of the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS Hospital); and a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. She’s also been part of several documentaries such as “River of love: A documentary drama on the life of Ammachi” in 1999; “Darshan: The embrace” directed by Jan Kounen in 2005; “In God’s name” directed by Jules Clément Naudet and Thomas Gédéon Naudet in 2007; and “Embracing Kenya” in 2009; among others. Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, the Vice-Chairman of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, described Amma’s labor in these words: “For Amma, removing the sorrows of others is as natural as drying the tears from her own eyes. The happiness of others, this is Amma’s happiness. The security of others, this is Amma’s security. The rest of others, this is Amma’s rest. This is Amma’s vision. And it is this vision that Amma’s life is dedicated to awakening in mankind.”
Har Gobind Khorana:
Born in Raipur, Punjab, British India (now Pakistan), in 1922, Har Gobind Khorana is an Indian American molecular biologist who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968 for his work on the interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. He shared the prize with Robert W. Holley and Marshall Warren Nirenberg. He also received the National Medal of Science (United States) in 1966 and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from the Columbia University in 1968. He’s an Alma Mater at the University of Liverpool and the University of the Punjab. He has worked at several important universities of the world such as the University of Wisconsin, the University of British Columbia, Cambridge University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He currently works at MIT’s Faculty of Chemistry as the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry, Emeritus.
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield but to my own strength. Let me not cave in.”
“The religion of economics is where we should above all try to bring about this union of ours … If this field ceases to be one of warfare, if there we can prove, that not competition but cooperation is the real truth, then indeed we can reclaim from the hands of the Evil One an immense territory for the reign of peace and goodwill.”
Rabindranath Tagore was born in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, in 1861 and died in the same city in 1941. He was an Indian Bengali polymath: a poet, playwright, artist, musician, song writer, singer, essayist, short-story writer, novelist and philosopher of the Brahmo Samaj movement (then converted to Hinduism) who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, becoming the first Hindu and the first Asian to win the most important literature award in the world, and who’s regarded as the foremost Indian literary figure of all times. Also known as the “Guru of love”, Tagore’s works, such as “Ghare-Baire” (The home and the world), “Gitanjali” (Song offerings) and “Gora” (Fair-faced), were determinant for and revolutionized the Bengali music and literature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His works have been admired for their colloquialism, lyricism, contemplation and naturalism. He was a cultural reformer that modernized the Bengali art beyond the critics that all his works received. Two of his songs are currently the national anthems of Bangladesh, “Amar Shonar Bangla”, and India, “Jana Gana Pete Manana”; he’s the only writer who has written the national anthems of two countries. He’s a very important symbol of the Indian culture and one of the most important, popular and influential Indian international figures, together with Mahatma Gandhi. He was the one who named Gandhi “Mahatma” (great soul) because of the great admiration he felt for the famous Indian political leader. Apart from his fiction writings, he also wrote many non-fiction books that were compilations of his essays, lectures and travelogues such as “Europe Jatrir Patro” (Letters from Europe) and “Manusher Dhormo” (The religion of man).
“The black holes of nature are the most perfect macroscopic objects there are in the universe: the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time.”
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born in Lahore, Punjab, British India (now Pakistan), in 1910 and died in Chicago, Illinois, United States, in 1995. He was an Indian American physician, mathematician and astrophysicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics together with William Alfred Fowler for their work in the theoretical structure and evolution of stars. He was the editor of the Astrophysical Journal from 1952 to 1971. He received many different honors and awards such as the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society in 1949; the Catherine Wolfe Gold Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1952; the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1953; the Padma Vibhushan in 1968; the Henry Draper Medal of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1971; the Copley Medal of the Royal Society in 1984; and the Gordon J. Laing Award in 1989. He was an honorary member of the International Academy of Science. Also, Chandrasekhar’s name has been used several times to honor him: the NASA named the third of its four Great Observatories after him (the “Chandra X-ray Observatory”) in 1999; the Chandrasekhar number, an important dimensionless number of magnetohydrodynamics, is named after him; and the asteroid 1958 Chandra is named after him. He was the nephew of Indian Nobel Prize winner Sir C. V. Raman. He worked in the University of Chicago until his death in 1995. These were the words with which R. J. Tayler described Chandrasekhar in the Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society of London: “Chandrasekhar was a classical applied mathematician whose research was primarily applied in astronomy and whose like will probably never be seen again.” American astronomer Carl Sagan acclaims Chandrasekhar in his book “The demon-haunted world” with these words: “I discovered what true mathematical elegance is from Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar”.
Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman:
Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born in Thiruvanaikoil, Tiruchirappalli, Madras Presidency, British India, in 1888 and died in Bangalore, Karnataka, India, in 1970. He was an Indian physicist who’s known for his important contributions to the quantum photo spin, the acousto-optic effect and the acoustics of Indian musical instruments, and also for having received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the molecular scattering of light and for the discovery of the Raman Effect, which is named after him. He was the director of the Indian Institute of Science of Bangalore between 1933 and 1948, and then, a year later, he established the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore of which he was the director until his death, in 1970. He has received many different honors and awards such as his appointment as Honorary Secretary of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) in 1919 and as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1924; in 1929, he was honored with the title of “Sir”; he was awarded the Franklin Medal in 1941; he received the most prestigious Indian award, the Bharat Ratna, in 1954; and the Lenin Peace Prize in 1957; among others. He was a member of many prestigious scientific societies and was honored with many honorary doctorates of some others. The discovery of the Raman Effect (1928) is commemorated with the National Science Day every 28 February. He has many publications among which are the “Molecular diffraction of light”, published in 1922; “The new physics: Talks on aspects of science”, published in 1951; “Lectures on physical optics”, published in 1959; and many more.
Sai Baba of Shirdi:
“Unless there is some relationship or connection, nobody goes anywhere. If any men or creatures come to you, do not discourteously drive them away, but receive them well and treat them with due respect. Shri Hari (God) will be certainly pleased if you give water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked and your verandah to strangers for sitting and resting. If anybody wants any money from you and you are not inclined to give, do not give, but do not bark at him like a dog.”
Sai Baba of Shirdi was born in Pathri, India, in the 1830’s and died in 1918. Also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, he was a world famous Indian yogi, guru and fakir that had many devotees and followers around the world and, specially, in India. There are some eyewitnesses and stories about miracles that he, supposedly, performed. He is regarded as a saint by many of his Hindu and Muslim devotees; he is also believed to be an incarnation of Shiva or Dattatreya by some of his Hindu followers; and, also, many of his devotees think he is a Sadguru (a true guru). His name is an Indian Persian combination that means “Saint” and “father, grandfather, old man, sir”, which is “holy father” or “saintly father”. He tried to reconcile Hinduism and Islam looking to find a communal harmony between these two important religions; for that purpose, he combined elements of both and taught about charity, forgiveness, helping others, inner peace, contentment, a moral code of love and devotion to God and guru. One of his best known epigrams about God is “Sabka Malik Ek” (One God governs all). He has inspired many films in India such as “Shirdi ke Sai Baba” in 1977, “Sri Shirdi Saibaba Mahathyam” in 1986, “Bhagavan shri Sai Baba” in 1989, “Sai Baba” in 1993, “Shirdi Sai Baba” in 2001, “Ishwarya Avatar Sai Baba” in 2005 and “Malik Ek” in 2008.
“Consciousness is the ground of all being”.
“We have to introduce consciousness into science, but to do this consciousness must have some structure to manifest itself. That structure requires mind, vital energies, supra-mentality, soul in other words.”
Amit Goswami is a famous Indian theoretical nuclear physicist who’s recognized for being a pioneer of the new paradigm of science called science within consciousness. Since 1968, he’s a professor emeritus in the physics department of the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, and a member of the University of Oregon Institute for Theoretical Physics. Also known for being a practitioner of spirituality and transformation, he calls himself a “quantum activist”. Goswami has been inspired by different topics such as immortality, reincarnation and death. His best known works are related to quantum cosmology, quantum measurement theory and applications of quantum mechanics to the mind-body problem. Some of his most famous works are the textbook “Quantum mechanics”; the two volume textbook for nonscientists “The physicist’s view of nature”; “The self-aware universe”; “The visionary window: A quantum physicist’s guide to enlightenment” with Deepak Chopra; “Physics of the soul: The quantum book of living, dying, reincarnation and immortality”; “Quantum creativity”; and “The quantum doctor: A physicist’s guide to health and healing”; among others. He’s been part of some feature films and documentaries that have increased his fame around the world such as the film “What the bleep do we know” in 2004; the documentary “Dalai Lama Renaissance”, narrated by Harrison Ford; and the documentary “The quantum activist” in 2009.
Venkatraman “Venki” Ramakrishnan:
Born in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India, in 1952, Venkatraman “Venki” Ramakrishnan is an Indian American scientist and structural biologist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for his “studies of the structure and function of the ribosome”. He shared the prize with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath. He’s also known for his works on macromolecular crystallography and on histone and chromatine structure. He was a staff scientist at the Brookhave National Laboratory between 1983 and 1995 and then a professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah between 1995 and 1999. He currently works at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He’s an Alma Mater at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, the University of California in San Diego and the Ohio University. Apart from the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, he has also received other prestigious awards such as the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 2007; the Heatley Medal of the British Biochemical Society in 2008; the Rolf-Sammet Professorship at the University of Frankfurt in 2009; and the Padma Vibhushan, which is India’s second highest civilian honor, in 2010. He’s a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), as well as a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Trinity College in Cambridge.
“It was a good place for getting lost in, a city no one ever knew, a city explored from the neutral heart outward, until after many years, it defined itself into a jumble of clearings separated by stretches of the unknown, through which the narrowest”.
Born in Chaguanas, Trinidad, in 1932, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul is a Trinidadian British novelist and essayist of Indian origin that’s regarded as one of the most important English writers of the second half of the 20th Century and that received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001 for “having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.” Best known as V. S. Naipul, he has been described as “a master of modern English prose” and, in 2008, he occupied the seventh place on the The Times’ list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”. He’s an author of fiction and nonfiction; he’s written novels, travel stories, short novels and essays. His works have been classified as works of realism and post colonialism, and they often analyze the colonial world and talk about oblivion and cultural loss, and about alienation. Naipaul’s works are currently read in many educational institutions of the developing world. His first novel was “The mystic masseur”, published in 1957. When he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001, the Committee of the Swedish Academy compared him with the novelist Joseph Conrad: “Naipaul is Conrad’s heir as the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings. His authority as a narrator is grounded in the memory of what others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished”. Some of his most famous works are “The mimic men”, published in 1967; “A bend in the river”, published in 1979; “The enigma of arrival”, published in 1987; “The middle passage: Impressions of Five Societies – British, French and Dutch in the West Indies and South America”, published in 1962; “The lost of El Dorado”, published in 1969; “A house for Mr. Biswas”, published in 1961; and “In a free state”, published in 1971; among others. He has received many prestigious honors and awards such as the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1958; the Somerset Maugham Award in 1969; the Hawthornden Prize in 1964; the W. H. Smith Literary Award in 1968; the Booker Prize in 1971; and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime’s achievement in British literature in 1993. The Committee of the Swedish Academy described him with these words: “Naipaul is a modern philosophe carrying on the tradition that started originally with Lettres persanes and Candide. In a vigilant style, which has been deservedly admired, he transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony.” The first authorized biography of Naipaul, written by writer Patrick French, was released in 2008.
“People’s identities as Indians, as Asians, or as members of the human race, seemed to give way – quite suddenly – to sectarian identification with Hindu, Muslim, or Sikh communities.”
Born in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India, in 1933, he’s an eminent Indian economists who’s best known for his important contributions to the human development theory and who received the Nobel Memorial Prize Economic Sciences in 1998 for his contributions to work on welfare economics, as well as the Bharat Ratna in 1999. Known as “the conscience and the Mother Teresa of economics” for his work on famine, welfare economics, human development theory, gender inequality, political liberalism and the underlying mechanisms of poverty, he’s been an exception among the economists of the 20th Century, since he has given a lot of importance to questions about human values and about own interest as an essential factor of human motivation. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages. His best known work is his essay “Poverty and famines: An essay on entitlements and deprivation”, published in 1981, in which he demonstrated that hunger is not a consequence of the lack of aliments, but a consequence of the inequality on the mechanisms of distribution of aliments. Apart from his works and research on the causes of famine, his works on the field of economic development have been very influential on the formulation of the United Nation’s Human Development Index (HDI). He has helped on the redirection of development plans and even politics of the United Nations. He’s the first Indian academic and the first Asian to head an Oxbridge college (he served as Master of the Trinity College of Cambridge between 1998 and 2004). He was included among Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential persons in the world in 2010. He has worked at very prestigious universities such as the University of Cambridge, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of Oxford, London School of Economics, Cornell University, Stanford University, University of Calcutta and Delhi School of Economics. He is currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He’s a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security; a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Sen has received over eighty honorary degrees from universities around the world as well as many honors and awards such as The Order of Companion of Honour, UK, in 2000; the Leontief Prize from the Global Development and Environment Institute in 2000; the Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service USA in 2000; the International Humanist Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union in 2002; and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indian Chamber of Commerce in 2003; among others.
“The whole thing goes back to the presence of God. You need to be in a state of decorum. You must ask yourself: How would God like to see me?”
“Cultures are rubbing against each other more than ever before in history. We need to be sensitive to … respect, honor, dignity, and how they are viewed in different societies.”
Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar was born in Umerkot, Sindh, in 1542 and died in Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, in 1605. Best known as Akbar the Great, he was the ruler of the Mughal Empire between 1556 and 1605, when the Mughal Empire covered most of northern and central India and was one of the most powerful empires of its age. The Third Mughal Emperor, Akbar, is regarded as the greatest of all Mughal Emperors. He is also known as Shahanshah Akbar-E-Azam and as Mahabali Shahanshah. His reign had a great influence on the art and the culture of his country. He founded a religious cult called the Din-i-Ilahi (Divine Faith), which gathered many teachings of all the major religions in the world, but the cult started losing strength after Akbar’s death, since it was built around Akbar’s figure alone. Although he was illiterate, he was very passionate about knowledge and used to invite people to from different religions to discuss and debate diverse subjects. Akbar commissioned a biographical book of his life to Abul Fazl, one of the Nine Jewels of his royal court, and the result was “The Akbarnāma”, which literally means Book of Akbar, a book written in Persian that includes details and descriptions of the Third Emperor’s life. Akbar was of Timurid descent, the son of Humayun and the grandson of Babur, who founded the Mughal Dynasty in India; he was preceded by Humayun and succeeded by Jahangir.
Arjumand Banu Begum was born in Agra, India, in 1593 and died in Burhanpur in the Deccan (now in Madhya Pradesh), in 1631. She was a very famous Persian princess and Empress of India during the Mughal Dynasty, and was the one who inspired the construction of the world famous Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Best known by her nickname Mumtaz Mahal, which means “beloved ornament of the palace”, she married the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan I (Prince Khurram) and became his favorite wife, giving birth to fourteen of his children. She died during labor of the fourteenth child and her husband’s pain was so deep, that he dedicated the rest of his life to the construction of her tomb, the Taj Mahal, which took more than twenty years and more than twenty thousand Indian and Persian workers to be built. Once the temple was finished, the body of Mumtaz Mahal was transferred to it and lies today next to her husband’s body. Muntaz Mahal was a Shi’a Muslim. She was the daughter of the Persian noble Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan. She was known for being a very kind Empress and for helping the widows, orphans and those who needed her help. This woman and the homage to her beauty and life inspired the story and the construction of one of the most –if not the most- famous monuments and symbols of love, which is also, currently, one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.
Born as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Bangalore, Karnataka, India, in 1973, she is a very famous Indian model, actress and former Miss World (1994) who’s the queen of Indian cinema and who’s been described and is considered by many as the most beautiful woman in the universe. Her famous beauty has been the topic of several surveys such as one of Hello! Magazine in which her followers elected her as the most beautiful woman in the world, and television shows such as one edition of Oprah Winfrey’s “The Early Show”; one edition of “60 minutes” that was called “The most beautiful face of Hollywood”; one edition of “Late show with David Letterman” in which he described her as “the biggest movie star in the world”; Martha Stewart show; and Tyra Banks show. She was the first Indian to appear in those popular American television shows. In the year 2000, she was elected the most beautiful woman that had ever been elected in that beauty pageant. It is said that North American actress Julia Roberts called her “the most beautiful woman in the world” in the Cannes International Film Festival. Her native language is Tulu but she speaks several languages such as Hindi, English, Urdu, Marathi language, Tamil language and Kannada. She has acted in over forty movies, including international productions, in different languages such as Hindi, English, Bengali and Tamil. She is one of the leading contemporary actresses in the Hindi film industry. In 2003 she became the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes International Film Festival. She’s a practitioner of Hinduism and people who know her have described her as a woman of deep traditional values. She was elected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of Asia in 2004. She occupied the ninth place on Harper & Queen’s list of 10 most beautiful women in the world in 2005. She’s received several awards such as the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in the Bollywood movie “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” and the same award for her performance in the film “Devdas”, both directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. There’s a variety of tulip that was named “Aishwarya” in her honor.
“All my life I have had a choice of hate and love. I chose love and I am here.” A.R. Rahman on Love.
Born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, in 1966, Allah Rakha Rahman is a very famous and influential Indian Tamil record producer, film composer, musician, instrumentalist, arranger and singer who’s worked in more than a hundred movies and sold more than 150 million records of his film scores and soundtracks worldwide –and more than 200 million cassettes-, becoming one of the world’s all time top selling recording artists, and who received two Academy Awards for his work in “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009, one for Best Original Music Score and one for Best Original Song. He’s famous for having composed countless records for the Bollywood film industry. Described as the “Mozart of Madras” by Time Magazine and as “Isai puyal” (Music storm) by several Tamil commentators, A. R. Rahman has gained international fame with his beautiful and successful creations for Indian and international movies, especially, with the songs composed for the film “Roja” in 1992 and with those composed for the Academy Award winner “Slumdog millionaire” in 2008. His first album, “Roja”, which contained the songs he composed for the movie of the same name, which was directed by Mani Ratnam, was catalogued by Time Magazine as one of the top ten musical songs for movies of all times. He was one of the over seventy artists that sang on “We Are the World: 25 for Haiti”, a charity single in aid of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He has received many honors and awards such as fourteen Filmfare Awards, four National Film awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA award for Best Film Music and a Golden Globe award, among others. He received an honorary award from Stanford University for his contributions to global music in 2006. Time Magazine included him on its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2009. The music producer Ron Fair described Rahman as “one of the world’s great living composers in any medium”. Rahman is also involved in several charitable causes and supports charities as Save the children.
“Investors, including foreign investors, should like the fiscal deficit numbers and the growth projections.”
Born in Ludhiana, Punjab, India, in 1957, Sunil Barthi Mittal is an important Indian business magnate and philanthropist who received India’s third highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, in 2007 and who is the founder, chairman and managing director of Bharti Enterprises, the company that runs the largest GSM based mobile phone service in India and one of the country’s leading business groups. He is an Alma mater at the Punjab University. His estimated net worth is 7.2 billion dollars as of 2010. He is opening a football academy in Haryana or Goa to help India send a team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Mittal is also the founder of the Barthi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Barthi Enterprises, which creates and supports programs to help unprivileged children and young people; the Barthi Foundation has established over two hundred schools and libraries in India, and has provided numerous scholarships for college students. In 2009, Mittal was included –as the number sixteenth- in Barron’s list of the world’s top 25 philanthropists.
N. R. Narayana Murthy:
“If we have to make life better for these (rural) people and give them reasonable standards of living, disposable incomes, healthcare and nutrition and education, I personally believe we have to look at low-tech manufacturing to start with and then high-tech manufacturing in a big way just as China has done because most of these people are semi-literate or educated at a very basic level.”
He was born as Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy in Mysore, Karnataka, India, in 1946. He’s an important Indian businessman and software engineer who founded Infosys Technologies, a huge consulting and Information Technology (IT) services company based in India, of which he was the CEO between 1981 and 2002. He is currently the non-executive chairman of the consulting and IT services company, and his estimated net worth is 1.6 billion dollars as of 2010. He has received different honors and awards such as the Padma Shri by the Government of India; the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India; the Legion of Honor by the Government of France; the Indo French Forum Medal by the Indo French Forum; and the Order of the British Empire by the Government of the United Kingdom; among others. In 2003, Ernst & Young voted him the World Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2006, Time magazine voted him as one of the Asian heroes who have brought about revolutionary changes in Asia in the last sixty years. He has been included in numerous lists of the most important entrepreneurs and world business leaders by prestigious magazines, news papers and publications from around the world such as The Economist, the Financial Times and the Economic Times Corporate Dossier. He was elected as a foreign member of the American National Academy of Engineers (NAE) in 2010, which is considered the most important professional distinction for an engineer. He holds over 26 honorary doctorates from universities across the world. The book “A better India: A better world”, published in 2009, gathers the lectures that Murthy has delivered around the world. This is another of his famous quotes: “Performance leads to recognition. Recognition brings respect. Respect enhances power. Humility and grace in one’s moments of power enhances dignity of an organization.”
“I am proud of my country. But we need to unite to make a unified India, free of communalism and casteism. We need to build India into a land of equal opportunity for all. We can be a truly great nation if we set our sights high and deliver to the people the fruits of continued growth, prosperity and equal opportunity.”
Born in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India, in 1937, Ratan Naval Tata is an important Indian businessman who’s best known for being the current chairman of Tata Sons and of India’s largest conglomerate, Tata Group, as well as chairman of other major Tata companies such as Tata Power, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Tea, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Teleservices, Tata Chemicals and the Indian Hotel Companies. He is also famous for having received two of India’s highest civilian honors, the Padma Brushan (third highest), in 2000, when the country was celebrating fifty years of the “Republic Day of India”, and the Padma Vibhushan (second highest), in 2008. He invented the cheapest car in the world, the “Tata Nano”. Forbes Asia named him Businessman of the Year in 2005. He is a member of the international advisory board of very important business groups and companies such as JP Morgan Chase, the Mitsubishi Corporation, the Reserve Bank of India, the American International Group and Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry in India. He’s an Asia Pacific advisory committee member for the New York Stock Exchange. He is an Alma mater at Harvard University and Cornell University. He has famous quotes such as: “Question the unquestionable” and “A promise is a promise”.
“I had developed this habit of writing scenarios as a hobby. I would find out which stories had been sold to be made into films and I would write my own treatment and then compare it.”
Satyajit Rai was born in Calcutta, British India, in 1921, and died in the same city in 1992. He was a very famous Indian Bengali artist, film director, writer, editor, illustrator, graphic designer and film critic who is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century and of the best auteurs of the 20th Century cinema. He’s well known because of his fine lyric style when directing films. He was a very prolific filmmaker who directed 37 movies during his career, including documentaries, feature films and shorts. French filmmaker Jean Renoir influenced him at the beginning of his career as a film director. “The Apu trilogy” (1955 – 1959), which consists of “Pather Panchali” (Song of the little road), “Aparajito” (The unvanquished) and “Apur Sansar” (The world of Apu), and which is based on two Bengali novels, is considered his masterpiece. His debut as a film director was with the first part of his trilogy, “Pather Panchali” (Song of the little road), in 1955, which was awarded eleven international prizes, including the Best Human Document at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1956. He received many important honors and awards including an Academy Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1992, shortly before dying; 32 Indian National Film Awards; the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1985; the Legion of Honor by the President of France in 1987; India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, shortly before his death; the Akira Kurosawa Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing at the San Francisco International Film Festival, posthumously; the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for “Apajarito” (The unvanquished) in 1956; the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival (he was one of only three film directors to win this award more than once and he still holds the record for the most number of nominations to the Golden Bear with seven nominations); among several different international awards. He was the creator of two popular characters in Bengali’s children literature: Feluda, a sleuth, and Professor Shonku, a scientist. He is the second film personality after Chaplin to have been awarded honorary doctorates by Oxford University. He has also been included in many lists of the greatest film directors of all times such as the lists of prestigious publications like Entertainment Weekly, Sight & Sound Critics, Total Film magazine and more.
Born in Delhi, India, Loveleen Tandan is an Indian film director and casting director who gained international fame, mostly, after the huge success of the Indian film “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008, which was directed by Danny Boyle and in which she was known as the “co-director: India”. Loveleen Tandan and Danny Boyle shared New York Film Critics Online Award (NYFCCO) for Best Director for their work in “Slumdog Millionaire”. The successful movie was very acclaimed internationally and received numerous awards such as eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture), seven BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globes, five Critics’ Choice Awards, among others. Tandan has also been the casting director of movies like “Tandoori love” in 2008; “Brick lane” in 2007, which was nominated for the BAFTA Award; “Migration” in 2007; “Vanity fair” in 2004; “Monsoon wedding” in 2001, which won the Golden Lion and was nominated to the Golden Globe; and casting consultant in “The namesake” in 2006, which was nominated for the Gotham Award and the Independent Spirit Award.
Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Shah Jahan I was born in Lahore, India (now Pakistan), in 1592 and died in Agra, India, in 1666. Also known as Shahjahan The Magnificent, he was a very important Mughal Emperor, the fifth to occupy this position, who ruled the Mughal Empire in India between 1628 and 1658, and who is famous for having built many beautiful monuments, including the world famous Taj Mahal, which was built by the fifth Mughal Emperor as a symbol of love for his dead wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He had three wives but Mumtaz Mahal was his favorite one and the pain he felt when she died led him to the construction of the Taj Mahal, a temple that took more than twenty thousand Indian and Persian workers and more than twenty years to build. Both he and his wife are currently buried in the Taj Mahal. His name comes from Persian meaning “the king of the world”. He’s known for having been the favorite of his grandfather, the legendary Akbar the Great. His reign is remembered for having been very powerful and prosperous, and for having produced some of the most amazing architectural masterpieces of the world; the period of his reign was the golden age of Mughal architecture. He was preceded by Jehangir and succeeded by Aurangzeb.
He was born as Abhas Kumar Ganguly in Khandwa, Central Provinces and Berar, British India, in 1929 and died in Mumbai, Maharashtra, in 1987. He was an Indian actor, playback singer, composer, musician, director, producer, lyricist, scriptwriter and screenwriter who sang in many different Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Oriya, Malayalam and Bhojpuri. He worked with many major music directors. He was asked by Sanjay Gandhi to sing for a Congress rally in Mumbai during the Indian Emergency (1975 – 1977), but, since he refused to do it, the government put an unofficial ban on playing his music on all India’s radio and television. He produced and directed several movies such as “Badhti Ka Naam Daadhi” in 1978; “Door Wadiyon Mein Kahin” in 1980, in which he appeared the last time as an actor; and “Zindagi” in 1981. He received many different awards such as seven Bengali Film Journalists Awards, all for Best Male Playback Singer in several movies, and eight Filmfare Awards, among others.
:: List of Famous Indian Cricket Players ::
Mohammad Azharuddin, one of the best known players and captains the Indian Cricket team has ever had, was born and brought up in Hyderabad, the state capital of Andhra Pradesh. He studied in a Catholic convent school named All Saints High School, which has been the Alma Mater to some other prominent Indian Cricketers too, including Venkatapathy Raju and Noel David. Azharuddin has been most famous for his wonderful wrist flicks that transformed a Cricket match into a poetic creation with aesthetic nuances of a masterpiece. Eventually, Azharuddin showed the best of his batting capabilities against spin bowlers. His smooth and clean batting style was often compared with the same of David Gower, a batsman from England. On the 19th of February 2009, Azharuddin formally joined the Indian National Congress Party. He contested the General Elections 2009 from the Moradabad seat in Uttar Pradesh and is now a Member of Parliament.
Bhagwat Subramanya Chandrasekhar
Bhagwat Subramanya Chandrasekhar, also known as Chandra, has been one of the best Leg Spin specialists India has ever produced. He was one among the four India Leg Spinners who together formed the famous Indian Spin Quartet that ruled the world of Spin Bowling in the decades of 1960’s and 1970’s. The other 3 bowlers were E.A.S. Prasanna, Bishen Singh Bedi and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan. As a bowler, Chandrasekhar was famous for taking a very long run-up, and used to bowl at medium pace usually. During his career, he played 58 Test Matches and grabbed 242 wickets. He found the Batsman Ken Barrington from England to be the most difficult one to bowl to. Wisden awarded him with Cricketer of the Year award in the year 1972, and the Best Bowling Performance of the Century award in the year 2002, for his best performance against England at The Oval in the year 1971, where he took 6 wickets for 38 runs.
Bishan Singh Bedi
Bishan Singh Bedi has been a former member of the Indian Cricket team. Considered to be an orthodox Bowler with expertise in Slow Left Arm Bowling, Bedi has been one of the 4 members of the well known Indian Spin Quartet along with B.S. Chandrasekhar, E.A.S. Prasanna and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan. Bishan Singh Bedi played 67 Test Cricket matches in his career, in which he grabbed 266 wickets and gave 7637 runs in 118 innings, with a Bowling Average of 28.71 runs. As far as One Day International (ODI) Cricket is concerned, he played 10 matches and took 7 wickets at 340 runs with a Bowling Average of 48.57 runs. As a batsman, out of the 67 Test Cricket matches he scored 656 total runs with the highest being 50 not out, with a Batting Average of 8.98 runs. In the One Day International (ODI) Cricket matches, out of the 10 matches he played, he could just score a total of 31 runs with the highest score being 13 runs, with an average Batting Average of 6.30 runs.
Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu
Cottari Kanakiya Nayudu, often known as C.K. Nayudu has to his credit the honor of being the first ever captain of the Indian Test Cricket team. He is also famous for being the fist Cricket player of India who was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan award. Nayudu is always remembered for leading the Indian Cricket team in its first Test Cricket match that was played against England at Lord’s in the year 1932. Initially this match had to be played under the captainship of the Maharaja of Patiala, but due to some health related problems he had to drop out of the match just 2 weeks before its commencement, and Nayudu was made the captain of the team. In this match, Nayudu got his hand injured while fielding in the first innings, still managed to make the highest score of 40 runs in the innings. Nayudu also played all the 26 First Class Cricket matches that were played in this tour, and scored 1,618 runs with a Batting Average of 40.45 runs. Overall, he scored 1,842 runs and grabbed 65 wickets during the whole tour.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the best known Indian Cricket players, who was made the Captain of the Indian Cricket team in the year 2007. One of the most flamboyant Indian Cricket stars ever, Dhoni is also fondly known as Mahi by the huge number of his fans particularly comprising of a big percentage of females. And not only his looks and style Dhoni equally proved to be a hard hitting batsman and one of the best Captains the Indian Cricket team has ever seen.
Sourav Chandidas Ganguly
Sourav Chandidas Ganguly, commonly known as Sourav Ganguly has been a member of the Indian Cricket team, and regarded to be one of the most successful Captains ever of the Indian Cricket team. As a matter of fact, the Indian Test Cricket team won 21 Test Cricket matches out of total 49 that were played under his Captainship, which is one of the best success rates any Captain of the Indian Test Cricket team has ever managed to accomplish. Not only this, Ganguly, fondly known as Dada by his fans and Maharaj by his teammates, has to his credit the feat of having nurtured a number of efficient players who played under his Captainship. These include Virender Sahwag, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh among others.
Gundappa Rangnath Viswanath
Gundappa Rangnath Viswanath, fondly known as Vishy, has been one of the finest batsmen India has ever produced. He was famous for his beautiful style of playing which concentrated more upon timing and art rather than power. Square Cut was one of the Viswanath’s favorite shots that he executed against the fast bowlers a lot. In fact, Viswanath was known to be more of an artist than a run-making robot. Viswanath retired from Test Cricket in the year 1983, and continued to work as an ICC Match Refree during the years 1999-2004. He was also named the Chairman of the National Selection Committee and the Manager of the Indian Cricket team for some time. For his contribution to the Indian Cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) honoured Gundappa Viswanath with Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in the year 2009.
Kapildev Ramlal Nikhanj
Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj has been an Indian Cricket player, and is said to be one of the all time greatest all-rounders to have existed in the world of Cricket. Kapil also served the Indian Cricket team as its Captain, and is famous for being the only Captain of the Indian Cricket team that led it to win a World Cup Cricket Trophy in the year 1983. In his Test Cricket career, Kapil Dev played 131 Test matches in which he scored 5248 runs with a Batting Average of 31.05 runs. His highest score was 163 runs. As far as bowling is concerned, he took 434 wickets in the Test Cricket, and gave away 12867 runs with an average of 29.64 runs. Kapil played 225 ODI matches throughout his career, and scored 3783 runs with an average of 23.79 runs, his highest score being 175 not out. He took 252 wickets, and gave 6945 runs with an average of 27.45 runs in his ODI career. Kapil served as the Coach of the Indian Cricket team between October 1999 and August 2000, but resigned after match fixing allegations were imposed upon him. The Wisden magazine named him the Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002, and has been conferred upon with Arjuna Award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards by the Government of India.
Anil Kumble has been an Indian Cricket player and Captain of the Indian Test Cricket team. A right handed batsman, Kumble specialized in Right Arm Leg Spin (Legbreak Googly) bowling. He has taken the third biggest number of wickets in the history of Test Cricket, having taken more than 300 wickets in Test matches. Throughout his Test Cricket career, Anil Kumble played 132 Test matches in which he managed to grab 619 wickets at the loss of 18355 runs, with an average of 29.65 runs. During his Test career he scored 2506 runs with an average of 17.77 runs. His highest score in Test Cricket was 110 not out. As far as One Day International (ODI) Cricket is concerned, Anil played 271 ODI matches throughout his career in which he took 337 wickets giving away 10412 runs with an average of 30.80 runs. He scored 938 runs with an average of 10.53 runs in the ODI matches he played, his highest score being 26. He was conferred with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India in the year 2005.
Nanik Amarnath Bharadwaj
Nanik Amarnath Bharadwaj, generally known as Lala Amarnath was a Test Cricket player of India. He was the first Indian Cricket player to score a Century in a Test match. In November 1947, he was made the Captain of the Indian Test Cricket team which visited Australia on a Test Series, hence, making him the first Captain of the Test Cricket team of Independent India. Throughout his Test Cricket career, Lala Amarnath played 24 Test matches and managed to score a total of 878 runs in them including 1 century and 4 half-centuries with a Batting Average of 24.38 runs and a highest score of 118 runs. In these 24 matches, he grabbed 45 wickets giving away 1481 runs, with a Bowling Average of 32.91 runs. He also played 186 First Class Cricket matches throughout his Cricket career in which he scored 10426 runs with a Batting Average of 41.37 runs, and a highest score of 262 runs. He took 463 wickets in the First Class Cricket matches and gave away 10644 runs, with a Bowling Average of 22.98 runs.
Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman
Vangipurappu Vekata Sai Laxman, popularly known as V.V.S. (Very Very Special) Laxman by his fans, is an Indian Cricket player. Apart from the Indian Test and One Day International Cricket teams, he has represented Hyderabad and Lancashire teams and captained the Deccan Charges team in the IPL Twenty-20 tournament 2008.
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, fondly called Tiger has been an Indian Cricket player and the Captain of the Indian Cricket team. He has to his credit the honor of having been the 9th and last Nawab of Pataudi, a small Princely State which presently is a part of the Haryana state of India. n the year 1962, he was named the Captain of the Indian Cricket team. Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, also known as Nawab Pataudi Jr., is considered to be one of the most successful Captains that the Indian Cricket team has ever got in its history. He led the Indian team in 40 Test matches, out of which 12 had been won by the team. Although the winning percentage was not very high, he is best known for instilling the winning confidence into the members of hitherto low-down Indian team, and boosting their morale that led them to further victories. Mansur is credited as the first Indian Cricket captain that got the team its much needed first Test victory at an overseas ground.
Irfan Khan Pathan
Irfan Pathan is an Indian Cricket player who has been playing for the team since the year 2003. Although primarily he is a Left-Arm Fast-Medium bowler, over the period of time Irfan has evolved himself as a bowling allrounder.
Pahlan Ratanji Umrigar
Pahlan Ratanji Umrigar, popularly known as Polly Umrigar was an Indian Cricket player who played First Class Cricket and Test Cricket. Primarily he was a middle-order batsman, although at times he also served the team as a medium pace and off spin bowler. Polly also led the Indian Cricket team between the year 1955 and 1958 in 8 Test matches, and at the time of his retirement had many national records to his credit. He was the first Indian player to score a double century in a Test match played against New Zealand.
Erapalli Anatharao Srinivas Prasanna Erapalli Anantharao Srinivas Prasanna, commonly known as E.Prasanna or simply Prasanna, has been an Indian Cricket player and a specialist of Off Spin Bowling. Prasanna was one of the 4 legendary Spin Bowlers constituting the famous Indian Spin Quartet, the other 3 being Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Bishen Singh Bedi apart from him. He was one of the most difficult Off Spin bowlers to play even at good pitches, and was considered to be a Cricket player with the prowess of a Chess Grandmaster, owing to his mysteriously deceptive bowling.
Rahul Sharad Dravid
Rahul Sharad Dravid, generally known as Rahul Dravid is an Indian Cricket player and has been the Captain of the team for some time. Owing to his long and steady innings at the crease, Dravid is sometimes referred to as “The Wall” by Indian media and fans. Apart from Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid is the only Indian batsman who has scored over 10,000 runs in Test Cricket, and the 6th batsman in the world to have scored 10,000 runs in One Day International (ODI) Cricket, although 2 other Indian batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly had achieved the feat before him. Dravid also has grabbed the biggest number of catches in the history of Test Cricket with a total of 182 catches, and has partnered in 72 centuries with 18 different batsmen which is in itself a world record.
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinghji
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, popularly known as K.S. Ranjitsinhji or Ranji, was an Indian Test Cricket player who represented the English Test Cricket team. Considered as one of the finest batsmen of all time, he managed to score big number of runs and also introduced some unique strokes into the game of Cricket. The most famous and important tournament of the Indian Domestic Cricket has been named upon him as Ranji Trophy. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala initiated the tournament in the year 1935.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, generally known as Sachin Tendulkar is an Indian Cricket player who is considered to be one of the all time greatest batsmen to have ever played the game of Cricket. The renowned Cricket magazine Wisden ranked Sachin Tendulkar the 2nd all time greatest Test Cricket batsman, only after Sir Donald Bradman at the 1st place in the year 2002. Also, the magazine ranked him the 2nd all time greatest ODI batsman after Viv Richards at the first spot.
Virender Sehwag, fondly known as Viru, is an Indian Cricket player and considered to be one of the best batsmen India has got. He is a right handed batsman and a casual Off Spin bowler. Sehwag has a number of records to his credit, including the highest score by an Indian player in a Test match that he achieved in a match against South Africa played at Chennai on 26th of March 2008. He scored 319 runs off just 278 balls in the match, which was also the fastest Triple Century in Test Cricket. Sehwag is one of the three batsmen in the world who have scored 2 Triple Centuries in Test Cricket, and scored the fastest ODI century by an Indian Cricketer in March 2009 off just 60 balls in an ODI match against New Zealand on 11th of March 2009 at Hamilton.
Sunil Manohar Gavaskar
Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, popularly known as Sunil Gavaskar has been an Indian Cricket player and considered to be one of the all time best opening batsmen in the history of Test Cricket. Sunil is known for having set many batting records that lied unbroken for long years after some other batsman. He was the biggest Test scorer with the biggest number of centuries to his credit during his times. His record of scoring 34 Test centuries took 20 years to be broken when Sachin Tendulkar outclassed it in the year 2005. Gavaskar was especially quite good against the fast bowlers, and maintained a decent average of 65.45 runs against the super-fast West Indian bowlers. He also served as the Captain of the Indian Cricket team, although the team couldn’t fare much better under his leadership. In fact, during his Captaincy, the Indian Cricket team one played 31 Test matches without a single victory.
Dilip Balwant Vengsarkar
Dilip Balwant Vengsarkar, usually known as just Dilip Vengsarkar is a former Indian Cricket player and currently a Cricket Administrator. Fondly known as Colonel, Vengsarkar is known to be one of the best batsmen of his times.
Vijay Samuel Hazare
Vijay Samuel Hazare was an Indian Cricket player. Apart from being an efficient Right Handed Batsman and a Right Arm Medium Bowler, he also served the Indian Cricket team as its Captain during the year 1951-1953, and led the team into 14 matches during the period. He is well known for getting the Indian Cricket team its first victory in a Test match. The match was played against England at Madras on 6th of February 1952, and India won by an innings and 8 runs. Hazare scored 20 runs, and took 1 wicket giving away 15 runs in the match. This was Indian Cricket team’s 25th Test match, and almost 20 years after the team had been given the Test status. Hazare was primarily a batsman, and his batting performance suffered while he served the team as its Captain, although his batting record is still quite impressive.
Yuvraj Singh is an Indian Cricket player and has served the Indian One Day International (ODI) Cricket team as its Vice-Captain since the year 2007 to the year 2008. Yuvraj is famous for having hit 6 sixes in a over bowled by Stuart Broad during a Twenty-20 match against England in the 2007 World Twenty-20 Cricket tournament.
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